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Resolution of Nuclear Standoff before North-South Summit, Says President Roh

Resolution of Nuclear Standoff before North-South Summit, Says President Roh

Posted April. 15, 2003 22:08,   


Without resolution of the North Korea`s nuclear crisis, there would be no summit talks. That was the comment made by President Roh Moo-hyun yesterday as regards the possibility of holding a summit between two Koreas. President Roh added, "When a new breakthrough requires meeting of leaders, then the summit will take place."

President Roh expressed the opinion in an interview with The Munhwa Ilbo. He also stated, "First, Pyongyang and Washington have to resolve the nuclear issue. Then, I will offer to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jung Il. Both of us will have to deal with important issues like eliminating legal barriers to the economic cooperation between us, relieving tension over the peninsula and building more trust."

President Roh explained, "What North and South agreed in the June 15th summit are still valid. I do not bind myself with details. It doesn`t matter where Mr. Kim wishes to hold a summit and which part of South Korea he wishes to visit."

When asked whether his administration is contacting the North for the proposed multilateral talks, President Roh replied, "We are not contacting the North Korean government any secret way. In the end, North Korea will give up its nuclear ambition. In return, neighboring nations will guarantee its system, and help it obtain the economic aids and become a member of the international community."

With regard to the ongoing political reform drive within his own party, Roh commented, "I will not force-feed my party with a certain type of reform. It may be another step in that direction for a president not to take the chairmanship of his party."

In the meanwhile, the President confessed, "[When promoting a reform] it is rather easy to persuade and overcome the opposition of the conservative guys. But it is hard to handle their friction and conflict with the people initiating the reform measures. Looking at the judgments made so far, I`m afraid my administration is repeating the same mistakes that the Kim Dae Jung administration committed before."

Jeong-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com